In this instalment, I felt that the acknowledgement of family support would be important for without the network of family in your life you can be feeling that you are in this journey alone. To be more specific, I would like to write briefly about my wonderful wife Donna for she has been the person behind the scenes if you like that has done so much for our kids and I.
Donna was employed as a Safety Officer within the same mining company as I was employed at Dampier, Western Australia and was due to attend work on the day of my incident.
Following my incident, Donna had also taken time off work during my 3 weeks’ sick leave to try to come to terms with what happened to me which included all the “what might have been” thoughts going through her mind. It was also important that Donna was with me at all times to ensure I wasn’t to collapse again for tests were all pending at this stage.
On the day I returned to work, my wife also returned to her Safety Officer role and made every attempt to bring her life back to as normal as possible which was very difficult for she was obviously worried about me returning to work and wondering how I would cope going forward. As I have explained in two of my previous instalments (“Returning to Work” & “What’s Happening to Me”), this was a time of self discovery, self awareness and included many mental and physical break-downs as a result of my incident. In the back-ground both at work and at home, it was my wife Donna that was always there to pick me up and support me. When my kids were showing signs of being impacted from the day of my incident or how I was not coping very well, Donna was always there. But who was there for Donna?
Unfortunately, whilst the kids and I always had Donna to care for us, counsel us, comfort us, nobody was really there for Donna. Whilst we have always been a tight knit family and we have always been there for each other I wasn’t exactly in a state to be the one to support Donna through this time. Of course we had family and friends spread throughout Western Australia that we could access however we lived somewhat remote to most of this network (1,538km Perth – Karratha) and tended to keep things close to us. I sometimes look back and ask myself why we didn’t reach out to more friends during this time but neither I or Donna were in any state to be discussing our situation for we didn’t know or understand it ourselves. It wasn’t that we were “suffering in silence”, we just needed space and time to try and evaluate, grieve and come to terms with what we had just been through.
In November 2014, Donna said she was thinking about resigning from her Safety Officer role for my health and wellbeing was not getting any better and the emotional rollercoaster that we both endured since the 19th April 2013 had taken its toll. In December 2014, Donna did resign from her Safety Officer role and finished her employment on the 1st January 2015.
You know I have always felt guilty about Donna resigning from the mining company we both worked for in Dampier, Western Australia for I am left wondering how far Donna’s career would have progressed had she had the support that she provided the kids and I. To provide you with some background on the level of achiever my wife Donna is, in 2013 Donna was nominated and acknowledged as one of the 100 Global Inspirational Women In Mining. Being recognised by her colleagues and peers (you know who you are) within the industry is a great acknowledgement of her passion for safety, her achievements and the role model she presented to others. I know during this time it certainly made our kids extremely proud to know that their Mum was recognised for this and I can see that this has embedded into our kids minds that if you believe in something, are passionate in something and are willing to work hard at something then anything can be achieved in life…and yes they understand very clearly not to work as hard as Dad did.
Whilst Donna was proud of the acknowledgement and the network of amazing women in mining that she was now able to access, she was still very grounded and stayed focused on her passion which was to support and improve the safety, health and wellbeing of her work colleagues at work.
Donna’s decision that day to resign was triggered by a series of events that occurred at work but I know that such events were just the catalyst to the underlying grief and pressure Donna was under at the time to deal with what had happened to me and the effects it was having on our family.
Donna has not returned to any employment since resigning from her Safety Officer role for she has dedicated her time to me during my journey of rehabilitation. During this time, Donna has attended nearly every medical appointment or any other related appointments that I have had to attend.
Donna loves me, looks after me, looks out for me, re-schedules my calendar when I’ve over populated it, ensures I am on time for appointments, ensures I know where I’m going for I have a regular tendency to get lost and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t need to wipe my bum nor do I take her for granted for I continue to do as much as I can but there are certainly things that I do not handle by myself too well these days and Donna has always been there to pick the pieces up for me.
She is amazing, she is my life, she is my wife xxx